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EA Staff Cuts

Joystiq has confirmation of "seasonal" job losses at Electronic Arts, pointing out this is the third year in a row they've cut jobs heading into the holidays. EA also tells GamesIndustry.biz (registration required) "sources may be exaggerating" the number of positions impacted. These sources include a Tweet by George Broussard, who had said: "EA Canada lays off 100+. Rumors swirl about global EA layoff in double digit range," and a post on Shacknews saying EA Black Box (likewise located in Vancouver, Canada) also suffered layoffs. Here's EA's official statement: "As you know, seasonal roll-offs that follow game launches are common and vital to maintaining a healthy business. Because so many of our games ship in the holiday quarter, the team size adjustments tend to follow in the same timeframe. However, EA is growing and several of our studios are looking to hire talented people."

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26. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 30, 2010, 00:25 Ruffiana
 
EA ranks their employees in a stack. The different project and team managers fight over where their employees end up in that stack. The ones on the top get promotions...the ones on the bottom get laid off.

Anyone going to work for EA should definitely treat it as a temporary gig, but this is not business as usual for most developers. Most try to avoid lay-offs whenever possible...for EA, it's a seasonal event.
 
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25. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 29, 2010, 18:38 HappyPappy
 
The most surprising of all this is that someone still reads George Broussard's tweets... and links to them as well.  
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24. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 29, 2010, 16:44 BIGtrouble77
 
I don't think EA would use the word 'layoffs' if they were referring to contractors. I did contract work for Firaxis on civ3 and the process was very formal, there was no contract to hire and I was given very specific tasks to do and had no expectation of future employment. I came in specifically to help complete some of the final tasks.

What EA is stating is ridiculous. Seasonal layoffs? That has absolutely nothing to do with contractors, and if it does, the PR person who wrote that should be laid off. It sounds much more like what others suggested, get rid of seasoned developers and bring in new, cheap blood. I can't imagine what it must be like for a developer/artist employee to bust his ass to meet a deadline then get canned right after. Even if it's only around 1%, it doesn't make it right just to save a few bucks.

We don't know the whole story, but based on the wording of this release and EA's past history, I'm inclined to think EA is being abusive here.
 
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23. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 29, 2010, 12:04 CJ_Parker
 
AnointedSword wrote on Oct 29, 2010, 08:51:
"No company in the software development sector fires its experienced workforce."

Huh? We do it all the time. If the demand is not there, businesses have to cut the work force. If a company does not get paid, how are they going to pay the workers?

I am not saying this is the case with EA, but sometimes business owners and leaders have to make the hard decisions. This includes letting go experienced workers.

I know I should have added "unless they absolutely have to" but I thought it was clear from the context of the ongoing discussion. Whom or how many get fired depends on a lot of other factors as well, of course. Like the complexity of your software or the tools you are working with. Some people have invaluable skills or experience or a rare combination of skills so that letting them go is simply not an option.

Anyway, I think that anyone who is working in the video gaming industry should know the rules of the game. It's hire & fire at its best. If anyone wants job security they need to go look somewhere else. Actually I'm sure that EA is one of the places with the highest job security [in the video gaming industry] simply due to their sheer size. Of course no one is talking about the indies and the small studios who hire & fire all the time but if EA lays off a couple hundred out of a few thousand (Wikipedia says 8,000) it makes the headlines and there is an outcry of [dumb] people. Boom! Bang! Murder! Rape! It's just retarded.

 
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22. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 29, 2010, 08:51 AnointedSword
 
"No company in the software development sector fires its experienced workforce."

Huh? We do it all the time. If the demand is not there, businesses have to cut the work force. If a company does not get paid, how are they going to pay the workers?

I am not saying this is the case with EA, but sometimes business owners and leaders have to make the hard decisions. This includes letting go experienced workers.

 
If you were right, I would be agreeing with you.
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21. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 29, 2010, 08:14 CJ_Parker
 
InBlack wrote on Oct 29, 2010, 06:20:
We dont really have any of the details do we. Im under the impression that most of these people were probably working on a contractual basis of 3 or 6 months, and their contracts have probably just run out. I cant see a company firing experienced full time employees who have "permanent" positions unless they screwed up somehow.

Dude, take it easy with the intelligent comments will ya?
You're 100% correct, of course. No company in the software development sector fires its experienced workforce. The costs of hiring new (or re-hire the former) people and the expenses for fully (re-)integrating them usually far outweigh the savings of a couple months salaries. These definitely must have been temporary positions to begin with which is standard practice in a project based environment like game development. Business as usual. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Naturally all of this is a little bit hard to understand for your average Blue's News knucklehead commie cunt who's having pipe dreams about Fidel Castro run 100% employment guarantee corporations that serve as infinite pools of welfare money for the untalented, poor and lazy like themselves.

I guess what I'm really trying to say with that last paragraph is: Fuck the dumb.

/peace out
 
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20. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 29, 2010, 06:20 InBlack
 
We dont really have any of the details do we. Im under the impression that most of these people were probably working on a contractual basis of 3 or 6 months, and their contracts have probably just run out. I cant see a company firing experienced full time employees who have "permanent" positions unless they screwed up somehow.  
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I have a nifty blue line!
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19. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 29, 2010, 05:58 Veterator
 
Sounds like a way to cut salary costs during a period when the majority of people are taking their vacation days or generally being unproductive because of the holidays.

I guess when you get people on salary, work them overtime without pay extracting 2-3x the value from the person.....laying them off when they aren't going to be working the regular hours let alone the overtime makes a lot of sense. Get all the overtime and none of the heavy vacation days at the cost of maybe losing a re-hire once the holidays are over. But hey unless you're really f-in desperate would you want to go back to a company that did that to you and probably would do it again next year?
 
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18. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 29, 2010, 05:24 PsychoMoggieBagpuss
 
It's not just EA. Most publicly traded companies have layoff's just before christmas if the quarters figures aren't looking as good as they'd hoped. Sucks for those people who are now searching for a job on the run in to christmas, but hey, it's all about shareholder value right, and the balance sheet looks better without all that extra expense on wages and benefits? (fuck short-termism)  
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http:/www.futilez
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17. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 29, 2010, 04:24 Dev
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Oct 29, 2010, 04:04:
Dev wrote on Oct 29, 2010, 03:43:
For all the crying about how PC games are dying, take a look at page 106 of the annual report I linked.

PC games were almost 700 million revenue in 2010 fiscal, compared with PS3 of 771 million, and wii of 570 million. Even the xbox 360 was "only" 868 million, within shooting range of the PC. If you look at any of the consoles individually as a platform, most of them are similar to the PC as a platform. The DS/psp/mobile platforms TOGETHER didn't even touch the PC platform.

The problem is it's not FPS and offline RPGs making them that money on the PC, and that is what people wish was PC-centric again.
You have a point, I suppose I was really addressing those comments to the INDUSTRY thats always crying about PC gaming not making enough money and piracy, not individuals. Basically a purely financial basis. I'll edit it to clarify.

I definitely agree that there are genres of PC gaming that are dying. I still have fond memories of the Space Quest series. And of course there's the whole consolification issue pressuring games down to the lowest denominator.

This comment was edited on Oct 29, 2010, 04:29.
 
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16. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 29, 2010, 04:04 StingingVelvet
 
Dev wrote on Oct 29, 2010, 03:43:
For all the crying about how PC games are dying, take a look at page 106 of the annual report I linked.

PC games were almost 700 million revenue in 2010 fiscal, compared with PS3 of 771 million, and wii of 570 million. Even the xbox 360 was "only" 868 million, within shooting range of the PC. If you look at any of the consoles individually as a platform, most of them are similar to the PC as a platform. The DS/psp/mobile platforms TOGETHER didn't even touch the PC platform.

The problem is it's not FPS and offline RPGs making them that money on the PC, and that is what people wish was PC-centric again.
 
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15. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 29, 2010, 03:43 Dev
 
For all the crying the industry is always making about how PC games are dying and piracy is killing it, take a look at page 106 of the annual report I linked.

PC games were almost 700 million revenue in 2010 fiscal, compared with PS3 of 771 million, and wii of 570 million. Even the xbox 360 was "only" 868 million, within shooting range of the PC. If you look at any of the consoles individually as a platform, most of them are similar to the PC as a platform. The DS/psp/mobile platforms TOGETHER didn't even touch the PC platform.

This comment was edited on Oct 29, 2010, 04:24.
 
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14. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 29, 2010, 03:43 Dev
 
Ludomancer wrote on Oct 29, 2010, 03:08:
I think EA is really becoming less and less valid these days, (finally), so hopefully we'll start to see less of this kind of thing. I wish they'd hurry up and die, and drag Microsoft and Kotick/Activision down with them.
http://investor.ea.com/secfiling.cfm?filingID=950130-10-1579&CIK=712515

They reduced yearly losses by 30% or 40% compared to last year, they have over twice the assets compared to liabilities, they put out over 150 titles fiscal 2010, in march they finished a year long restructuring plan which got rid of over 1200 employees (dwarfing the 100 this story is about), they had a drop in revenue this year but the biggest drop was in USA and they have almost half of revenue international, they decreased excess inventory by almost half this year, they have 7800 employees only 3% of which are union all of those are in dice in sweden.

IMHO, this is not a picture of a dying company. Feel free to browse through that annual report though and see for yourself.


 
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13. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 29, 2010, 03:20 D_K_night
 
...and what's going to happen to all those people who were laid off? They're going to be ending up competing for all the joe jobs just to keep them afloat toward holiday season. And how are job openings around this time?

I hate seeing this happen, people laid off precisely right before Xmas. Oh sure, you could argue "it's their fault for not having saved up for a rainy day", while true, it is a cold blooded thing to say.

Just seems something purposefully done to screw people over, no matter how much "it's not personal, it's just business" BS they spew. Dumping someone out in the cold can't get more personal than that.
 
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12. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 29, 2010, 03:08 Ludomancer
 
EA has done this for many years. Yes, it is complete bullshit. They used to use some other term for it, this "seasonal" job losses is a new one to me, but it's just another way for them to spin it.

The rest of the game industry doesn't really live or die on a "seasonal" basis, but EA just wants to do business that way, and they continue to force their employees through their little circus.

I think EA is really becoming less and less valid these days, (finally), so hopefully we'll start to see less of this kind of thing. I wish they'd hurry up and die, and drag Microsoft and Kotick/Activision down with them.
 
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11. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 29, 2010, 02:58 Dev
 
AngryMax wrote on Oct 29, 2010, 02:52:
When is this economy gonna get back up on the horse? Or is it gonna run into the ground and get picked up by a regime change like it did in WW2 Germany?

I know its not a significant layoff, but its all over the place in the industry, like death by thousand cuts.
Dunno.

You know that germany thing you mentioned? It was having problems of hyper inflation. Did you know that there's a couple countries right now where it takes a wheelbarrow full of those currencies (trillions) to buy a loaf of bread because of hyper inflation?

Right now you have the Fed talking about wanting to increase inflation to reduce interest rates!?
Plus you have the huge deficits.

Thats the nightmare scenario if you ask me.
 
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10. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 29, 2010, 02:52 AngryMax
 
When is this economy gonna get back up on the horse? Or is it gonna run into the ground and get picked up by a regime change like it did in WW2 Germany?

I know its not a significant layoff, but its all over the place in the industry, like death by thousand cuts.
 
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9. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 29, 2010, 01:29 Sepharo
 
Keep in mind that EA employees something like 7500 people. So dropping 100 is barely above 1%.

I guess when you put it that way
 
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8. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 29, 2010, 01:26 Dev
 
Wildone wrote on Oct 29, 2010, 00:49:
Development.

100 people seems to be a lot of staff, usually theres a handful of extra people brought on near the end maybe as much as 20, with off site testing at the publishers end..never full time artists, engineers ect

Keep in mind that EA employees something like 7500 people. So dropping 100 is barely above 1%.

I don't believe what they are saying either (I already mentioned my theory), but when you are dealing with something as big as EA, 100 isn't nearly as significant as talking about IW for instance. I don't know how many people work at EA canada.
 
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7. Re: EA Staff Cuts Oct 29, 2010, 00:53 Sepharo
 
Wildone wrote on Oct 29, 2010, 00:49:
Development.

100 people seems to be a lot of staff, usually theres a handful of extra people brought on near the end maybe as much as 20, with off site testing at the publishers end..never full time artists, engineers ect

I agree. This sounds like EA is hurting pretty bad and are trying to smooth it over.
 
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